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Comment: Re:Good (Score 2) 197

by calidoscope (#47822557) Attached to: Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste
The proposed reactor design sounds a bit like the EBR-II at INEL, formerly the National reactor test site, with the design also referred to as the Integral Fast Reactor. This program got shut down in the 1990's, though stories have been told about people who were sent out to Idaho to shut it down came back as converts to the cause.

Comment: Re: 100km (Score 4, Informative) 44

by calidoscope (#47591221) Attached to: Perlan II Project Aims To Fly a Glider To the Edge of Space

Something on the order of 97% of the atmosphere's mass is below 90,000'. 100km is an arbitrary value for the start of space, as the air at 100km is too thick to orbit and too thin to fly in (except dynamic soaring?). In imperial units, 100,000' seems to be the upper limit for flying and 100 miles is about the lower limit for orbiting.

The Perlan II sounds like it will handle like an unpowered U2 - where the planes ceiling will be defined by the "coffin corner" were the low speed stall (classic stall) approaches the high speed stall (Mach tuck from transonic airflow). Perhaps they will be using a more refined airfoil than the U2 to increase the Mach number for high speed stall.

IIRC, the pre-Perlan I sailplane altitude record of approx 47,000 feet was set sometime in the 1960's, surprising it took that long for someone to break that.

Comment: Re:The failure mode is transformer core saturation (Score 1) 91

by calidoscope (#47538633) Attached to: The Truth About Solar Storms

An alternative way of minimizing the effects of a severe solar storm on the grid would be placing series capacitors on the long AC transmission lines. This is done already to increase power transfer capacity of some lines.

Since the solar flare is visible many hours before CME hits, the utilities should have time to configure the grid for the storm. The oerative word here is "should".

Comment: Mid 1960's Army research (Score 1) 380

by calidoscope (#47329723) Attached to: New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel
There was an article or two in the likes of Mechanix Illustrated or related magazine about the US Army experimenting with ammonia fueled engines. Reports indiacted that engines would function, but had not been developed to the point of practicality. Shudder to think what kind of NOx levels are present in the exhaust.

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